“One of my vivid memories is from many years ago in Marshall, Texas when I was about to enter the first grade at Davy Crockett Elementary.
My Mother and our neighbor, Mrs. Chapman, were shopping at Sears. My older buddy, Mike, and I were “dragged” along, not our favorite thing. Bored, we wandered off.
Mike wanted to get a drink; there were two water fountains. We both got our drinks and then Mike pointed at me and started laughing loudly, “Dennis you drank out of the colored fountain!” I felt that everyone in the store was looking at me.
I had no idea that this was a sin and ran back to my mom to question, complain, confess, or whatever. My Mom said, “That’s silly.” We went back to the water fountains, and she took several long drinks out of the “colored fountain.” She said they were equal. (I knew she was not talking just about the fountains.) This was a profound lesson for me in its time.
I don’t know why this moment stuck in my memory. Perhaps it’s more about the momentary shame I felt by being publicly ridiculed by Mike at Sears. I’m certain though it was my very first exposure to racism. In that moment my mom taught me a great lesson.
I’m an old white man but I take notice of racism; it’s everywhere. It’s nurture; it’s learned. We are all teachers whether we want to be. Please be a teacher for equality, acceptance, inclusion, kindness, good manners…”
AND GIVE YOUR MOMS LOVE AND RESPECT EVERY DAY!